Alex Rodriguez did a nice job on the homestand of not allowing the expecting eyes looking for 600 to take him out of his usual mode, save for the one swing where he tried to emulate Reggie Jackson and reward the fans for sitting through a two-hour plus rain delay.
But A-Rod is now 0-for-Cleveland
after taking a collar last night, grounding into a fielder’s choice that ended the game representing the tying run. And the mounting pressure of the hundreds of flashbulbs popping alongside every pitch, to say nothing of the specially-marked ‘R’ baseballs being delivered to the home plate umpire, might be having an effect.
Here’s what Rodriguez said last night:
“I think for me, the biggest thing is to stay within the game and not try to do too much. I think a few times over the last three or four days, I’ve kind of come out of it and tried to swing a little too hard, or maybe get a little pull-happy. As long as I swing at strikes and think [about] the big part of the field, like that ball to right-center [in the seventh inning], then good things are going to happen.
“I don’t think I’m really expanding my strike zone. Guys are throwing strikes and I think for the most part I’m swinging at strikes. What I want to do is let the ball travel a little bit and use my hands more.”
For what it’s worth, Indians closer Chris Perez said Monday that he was beginning to see a little different version of A-Rod:
“I went after him. I even threw him a hanging slider the second pitch. He took it. If there had been nobody on, I would have thrown him all heaters. I think he’s starting to feel it. He’s starting to get aggressive. That could be good for us. Throw a sinker down and in and let him roll over it.”